“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” —Malcolm X.
It is almost tiring to belabor the point on the relevance of formal education to the growth and development of a country. Ghana is no exception regarding the premium the country places on education with introduction of plethora of policies and programmes intended to improve quality and access to education.
According to a Daily Graphic report, the Minister of Finance whiles answering questions in Parliament last year, revealed that government allocated a total amount of GH¢7.62 billion for the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme during the past five years.
These and many interventions in the education sector in the 4th Republic lend credence to the commitment the country has made in building the human capacity base.
To see children lined up waiting for their school bus sometimes accompanied by their parents is a regular sight at bus stops in Obuasi and in Ghana. It is equally heartwarming seeing children upbeat about a brighter and successful future ahead.
Now, back to the subject matter, issues of rickety buses and overloading of school children especially among private schools have become a cause for concern and a worry for well meaning Ghanaians and Obuasi is no exception.
The debate regarding inspection of school buses and safety of school children have resurrected following the death of six school children of the Techire DS Elites Academy in the Tano North District when the vehicle which was transporting them to school was involved in an accident,abouta week ago.
Shocking and depressing as the news was, it is important to note that the country have not made enough attempt to nip the unfortunate issue of rickety school buses in the bud. As far as I could recollect, similar incidences have happened at Bekwai, Tarkwa, Koforidua to mention but a few yet no action has been seen taken to prevent future occurrences.
Regulation 137 of the Road Traffic Regulation, that says: ‘A person who drives a taxi, omnibus or other passenger-carrying vehicles shall not carry a number of persons that exceed the number of persons determined by the Licensing Authority to be carried by that vehicle and stated in the vehicle registration documents.”
Suffice it to say, little or no action has been taken to whip the schools in line and compel them to follow the laid down regulations. The enforcement agencies; the MTTD and the DVLA need to act fast to avert such looming disaster in Obuasi.
There are more than 80 private schools in Obuasi and almost all of them have made attempts to transport the school children from their homes to school at a fee.
Whiles mincing no words, it is a common knowledge that most of the schools overload the children in their buses with children struggling to endure the accompanying excruciating heat.
Most of the cars are at best an eyesore not fit to ply the roads yet do so on a daily basis.
My checks have established that private schools are regulated by the National Schools Inspectorate Authority, formally known as National Inspectorate Board (NIB), but I believe the Ghana Education Service with an oversight responsibility on education in Ghana, must act to prevent a disaster in Obuasi.
“WE MUST NOT LOOK ON WHILES OUR CHILDREN ARE OVERLOADED IN RICKETY VEHICLES IN THE NAME OF SEEKING KNOWLEDGE “
I call on the GES, MTTD, NaSIA, OMA and OEDA to act NOW !!!…Children must not die whiles seeking knowledge.